I plant maincrop potatoes every year. Last year, I planted 50 Desiree in mid-April, in the usual way (15" apart, in rows 2' apart, in light, sandy soil that had been conditioned and fertilised several weeks earlier), and I harvested them in August. The yield was higher than usual and they all looked very healthy; however, their texture, when cooked (steamed), was very disappointing: extremely dry and crumbly - so dry that they were only fit to eat mashed with butter. Has anyone had a similar experience and, if so, do you know why this happens? We had a prolonged dry spell when the tubers were forming, and I am wondering if I failed to water them sufficiently..

  • 2
    how would describe them when they were raw?
    – Seanland
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 2:40
  • Absolutely normal and healthy-looking, both inside and out. Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 16:12

2 Answers 2


If the texture is as you have described, crumbly, this generally points to the amount of water given to these plants. It means there was definitely a lack of water, potatoes tend to really hate dry spells, so you must water them well during droughts!


This year a standpipe was installed close to the plot where I grow my potatoes, so I was able to water them in depth throughout the dry spell. I grew the same variety as last year, and prepared the soil in exactly the same way.

I lifted some yesterday and steamed them; they are all very healthy, cook well and have a fine waxy texture - quite different from last year's which were so dry and crumbly.

JohnH was right: last year's crop simply needed more water.

  • +1 - I am glad you have good potatoes this year, it beats anything crumbly and dry. I knew once you said it was dry and crumbly that it was due to the lack of water.
    – JonH
    Commented Aug 5, 2011 at 13:33

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